Monday, March 12, 2007

Pasta with meatballs

Scrap had a whirlwind social today. We’ve just said goodbye to his best friend Sami and his little brother Milo who along with Scrap ate three mouthfuls of supper then jumped like crazy on the tiny trampoline until bath time (now!).

Earlier today, Scrap had his old NCT mates John and Henry round for play and lunch. All kids like pasta and most like meatballs so I thought this was a safe bet and good for making ahead of time. I think meatballs need a smooth sauce, so if you’re using cans of tomatoes, whiz them with a hand blender first.

Plenty for 3 mums and 4 small children
2 x 400g can plum tomatoes, whizzed or 800g jar passata
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
6 fresh sage leaves
1 thick slice of white bread, crusts on
500 g lean organic minced beef
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 sweet potatoes, diced or 1 very small butternut squash, diced
500g pasta shapes (I like to mix them up a bit)
250g mozzarella, diced

Pour the tomatoes into a pan with 300ml water and heat gently.

Place the garlic, parsley and sage in a food processor and tear in the white bread. Whizz until the bread breaks into crumbs then add the beef and whiz again until the mince is quite smooth. Add the egg, seeds and a pinch of salt and mix well.

Roll the mixture into cherry sized balls, dropping them into the tomato sauce as they’re ready. Partially cover and bubble gently for an hour or so. Add the sweet potato or squash and cook for a further 30 minutes until the veg is tender.

Cook the pasta, return to the pan and mix in the sauce and mozzarella. Serve as is or tip into a heatproof dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and pop into preheated oven until a bit crusty on top. Offer chilli flakes and grated Parmesan to grown-ups.


Native12 said...

I always cook my meatballs separately in olive oil, because I find they crumble when I cook them in the sauce. Also, my nine year-old daughter has a crazy phobia about any kind of fatty residue, which I found sometimes coming to the surface of the sauce - regardless of how lean the mince is.
And the ultimate herb dilemma -sage or basil? That's a tough one! I prefer basil, but the wife and kids complain it's too overpowering...

Heidi said...

those boys.... what a lovely afternoon! Roll on summer and paddling pools.

Rob said...

I had some of the leftovers for my lunch. It was delicious!

Silvana said...

Hello Mr Native12

Thank you for your good comments.
I love basil, you can't over-do it in my book. I often do a double basil hit when I'm making a tomato pasta sauce, half of it goes in at the begining with I'm softening the onions and garlic and the other half at the last second. Yum!

dulwichmum said...

I am definitely going to try this. My pair became addicted to meatballs a few months ago when one of our au pairs bought meat balls from Ikea, and now I cannot wean them off! I can't imagine what the quality of the meat is like in them, so any new recipe is welcome.

Anonymous said...


frankly I'm disapointed that you did not send me a copy of this for inclusion in my planned vanity published edition on meatball cookery. I will now have to reconsider its contents!



Silvana said...

Ah, Mr Gavin, hello!

You of all people do not need any more meatball recipes! When will your meatball book be published? And I hope you will be including the scrummy meatball curry recipe I gave you quite a few years ago which I'm sure you've never cooked.....